A few months ago, I left the barn door open.  I’m talking about a literal barn door here, the fly on my pants was just fine, thank-you-very-much.  Anyhoo, I left the barn door open for just a few minutes while I ran off to do a quick chore.  When I returned, I noticed a small, beautiful brown bird had flown inside and was at the far end of the barn frantically flapping its wings against a closed window, trying to escape the forcefield keeping it from the wide open skies it so desperately desired.  In its terror, this poor bird was completely oblivious to the wide open barn door through which it had passed through minutes before.  

I wondered, what other creatures on this planet are prone to missing such obvious solutions?

Oh, my god!  It’s me!  Yes, like the bird, when we human creatures reach a certain level of franticness, we become easily blind to the doors that remain open and waiting for us to walk through.

It’s not at all good feeling stuck, stressed out or like I’m banging my head against the wall of mental confinement.  So, when I experience times like these I endeavor to become more and more skilled at pausing, taking some deep breaths and asking myself simple questions like:

What assumptions am I making, in this moment of fear, that I don’t actually know to be true?

How can I begin to calm myself in this moment?   Examples might be breathing deeply, pausing and getting a drink of water, repeating a loving affirmation.

Can I imagine a possible solution or two or three to the present challenge?

Who do I know who could help me reevaluate this problem in a different light?

The solution for the frantic brown bird came when I finally managed to get the window open, freeing it to destinations unknown.  

When we, too, find ourselves beating against the metaphorical window of life’s many challenges, may we remember to double check that we didn’t leave the barn door to open sky opportunity wide open.

JASON FREEMAN is a Professional Speaker and the proud owner of a Speech Impediment.  He is also the author of “Awkwardly Awesome: Embracing My Imperfect Best” and a Perseverance Coach.

He excites and encourages his audience to break through the barriers of their own limitations using a method he created, called “Doing your Imperfect Best ™”.

His Imperfect TEDx Talk can be viewed here.